Simone Biles, puts emphasis on mental health, receives wholehearted support

Image Source: Twitter The American gymnast Simone Biles, the biggest star of the Tokyo Olympics and the greatest athlete in the sports’ history has withdrawn from the women’s all-around gymnastics final. The 24-year-old pulled out of the Olympic team final on Tuesday, leaving in the middle of the competition after struggling to land a vault. After withdrawing from the event, Biles admitted that lately, she has been struggling with mental health issues, the pressure of being one of the most famous athletes in the world and living up to the expectations of thousands of people out there, topping the challenges, is living amidst the crisis of a pandemic. Simone Biles's withdrawal from the competition following one rotation paved the way for the team of Russian athletes to win gold for the first time in nearly three decades. However US team of athletes, Jordan Chiles, Sunisa Lee, and Grace McCallum has fetched silver while Biles cheered from the sideline in a white sweatsuit, at peace with a decision that revealed a shift not only in Biles but perhaps the sport she’s redefined. Bikes released a statement saying, “We also have to focus on ourselves, because at the end of the day we’re human, too,” Biles said. “So, we have to protect our mind and our body, rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do.” She further said, “I didn’t want to go out and do something stupid and get hurt... At the end of the day, we don’t want to be carried out of there on a stretcher.” Putting her mental struggles in front of the world saw Biles join a growing number of world-class athletes from across sport, such as Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka and US swim legend Michael Phelps, who have opened up about coping with stress and the mental grind and toll of their success. Biles’s decision has been widely praised by America’s sporting superstars, with Michael Phelps among those insisting that it would “blow the doors open” over athlete mental health. Phelps, the most decorated Olympian in history with 23 gold medals, said that seeing Biles leave the arena “broke my heart” but said her actions would make waves far beyond this year’s Olympic Games.